Contraception, Abortion, Fetal Care Issues Flare Up In State Legislatures

Women's health issues continue to roil politics in Texas, Mississippi and Nebraska.

Reuters: Mississippi Bill May Cause State's Only Abortion Clinic To Close
The Mississippi state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday to impose new regulations on facilities providing abortions that supporters of the state's only abortion clinic said could force it to close. The measure, which previously passed in the state House of Representatives, ... requires physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynecology (Ward, 4/5).

Kaiser Health News: Mississippi Legislature Passes Abortion Clinic Bill
The change could make staffing the state's sole abortion clinic very difficult, since most of the doctors who practice at Jackson Women's Health live out-of-state and admitting privileges at the nearest hospital are given only to local physicians. ... The clinic currently has a patient transfer agreement with a local hospital, according to Diane Derzis, one of the owners of Jackson Women’s Health (Hess, 4/4).

The Associated Press: Political Stress Erupting At Mississippi Capitol
[A]fter the Senate Public Health Committee approved a bill to put new restrictions on abortion clinics, a bill opponent glared at the committee members and called out: "Liars! You're all liars!" A security officer stepped between her and the committee members. Few lawmakers glanced her way, and no one responded (Pettus, 4/4).

The Associated Press: Prenatal Care Debate Divides Nebraska Republicans
The issues of illegal immigration and abortion have split Nebraska's Republican-dominated politics, with some conservatives supporting a plan to offer state aid to pregnant women in the country illegally and others arguing that doing so would violate a bedrock GOP belief. ... The measure would require the state to pay for prenatal care to low-income women who have entered the U.S. illegally (Schulte, 4/5).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas Democrats Say State Proposal On Women's Health Program Flawed
Democrats are warning that important welfare assistance could be harmed in the state's latest proposal to pay for the Women's Health Program, which lost almost all its funding after state Republicans bucked the federal government over Planned Parenthood. ... [Health and Human Services Commissioner Thomas Suehs' office] indicated that one possible source for refunding the Women's Health Program could be a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant (Hoppe, 4/4).

The Texas Tribune/KUT: In Austin, Sex Ed Via Text Message
Officials in Austin, an area with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state, have launched an effort to educate teens about sexual health using a familiar medium: their cellphones. Nathan Bernier of KUT News reports on how the effort compares to information students receive in school (4/5). 

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